History will not forgive if we lose more vaccines: Eatala

Wait for the jab: People queuing up outside the COVID-19 vaccine centre at the District Hospital in King Koti on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: RAMAKRISHNA G.

Criticising the allotment of medical resources to State governments, Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender has said that asking States to buy and distribute vaccines against COVID-19 is “narrow-minded”.

Stating that every rupee spent by a government is tax money paid by the people, Mr Rajender pointed out that the vaccines are sold at ₹150 to the Centre while the rate changed to ₹600-1,000 for State governments. He said States will have to cough up more if they buy the vaccine directly from manufacturers.

Requesting the Centre to assess requirement across the country and buy vaccines from wherever it is available, he added, “Or, support the manufacturers, take vaccines from them and be on the job of giving it to the people of our country. Companies were permitted to sell wherever they wanted to, at a profit. Vaccines produced here have already gone to other countries. History will not forgive if we lose more”.

At a press conference held in Hyderabad on Tuesday evening, the Health Minister spoke about oxygen requirement, procurement and their plans to increase oxygen bed and also explained the reasons why some private hospitals are facing shortage of Remdesivir, an anti-viral drug.

At another press conference held on April 18, he had criticised the Centre for taking control over the supply of Remdesivir.

Oxygen supply

The State is alloted to get liquid oxygen from Bhilai in Madhya Pradesh, Angul in Odisha and Bellary in Karnataka, among other places.

While Bhilai is over 750 km from Hyderabad, Angul is 1,040 km far. Mr Rajender and senior officials from the Health department had earlier said that getting oxygen from the two places takes a lot of time, a luxury that cannot be afforded in the peak of the pandemic.

Tanker shortage

Besides, there is a shortage of tankers. So even if more oxygen can be procured, they have to wait for tankers to return from one place and then send them to another place.

The department had earlier requested the Central government to allot a major part of the requirement from Bellary which is around 360 km from Hyderabad. From the earlier allotment of 20 metric tons, the allotment has been increased to 90 metric tons.

Telangana’s current requirement is around 300 metric tons per day and is expected to rise to 400 metric tons. Stating that there is no shortage of oxygen at government hospitals and major corporate hospitals, Mr Rajender said the State is allotted 400 metric tons. Of the total, he said that 160 metric tons is produced here and a few more by small scale companies.

Around 90 metric tons is coming from Bellary. Indian Air Force aircraft are being used to airlift tanker vans to other places.

He said that five Liquid Oxygen Tanks are established in five government hospitals including Gandhi Hospital and Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and 12 more would be placed under the initiative.

The Health Minister said that they would make available 3,010 more oxygen beds at government hospitals across the State in a week. The works have begun in this regard.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 2:30:47 AM |

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